When I look at the picture above, I can hardly believe it myself. My hair used to be thin, brittle, lifeless, fall out more when I washed/brushed it & grow less than 1/4 inch every month. Now when you look at my hair it’s full, thicker, longer, stronger than ever & grows like a weed! I didn’t realize my hair was growing like crazy until about 2 years ago when I started my fitness journey & I made some serious changes to my health. I’ve been keeping serious track of my hair growth & how much I cut off when I get it cut/trimmed & figured out that it grows 9 inches every year! The average is 6! I’m going to list what I’ve done to change the look, feel & growth of my hair below & hopefully you’ll find it helpful 🙂
1.) Make sure you’re eating enough
Did you know that most American women don’t eat enough? I was one of them. Before I began making my health a priority in my life (2 years & a couple months ago), I was eating 1,000-1,200 calories every day.. This wasn’t intentional. I was just uneducated on how many calories my body needed to function & be healthy. I’m very thankful my boyfriend gave me the tools to figure out what I needed. At that time, I was very busy with my job, taking college classes, going out with friends, etc. My health was last on the list! Very shortly after I met my boyfriend & he educated me on how to treat my body right, it turned out I actually needed 1,700 calories to function healthily. Once I started eating more, my nails & hair started growing like crazy, grew in so much thicker, my body had more energy than ever & so on! In the photo directly above, on the left I’m a couple months into my fitness journey & the photo on the right was a month ago. You can tell a serious difference in the thickness of my hair, especially at the ends & I haven’t had my hair trimmed in 4 months! While eating enough is important, another part of our diet is necessary for healthy hair & nails, which brings me to tip #2:
2.) Make sure you’re getting enough protein
Did you know our hair & nails are made up of protein? Getting adequate protein helps lessen the amount of split ends (I only need to trim my hair every few months now compared to every 6 weeks 2 years ago), helps strengthen & smooth the cuticle meaning you’ll have more naturally smooth & shinier hair. While there is no such as thing as a diagnosed “protein deficiency,” a sign that you’re not getting enough can be dry, brittle hair & nails. So how much do we need to be healthy? It is recommended that we have .55 -.73 x our body weight in lbs in grams of protein every day. For someone that weighs 120lbs, that means that their body needs:
66-87g per day.
Because I lift weights a few times per week, I like to lean more toward 87g & sometimes more, simply because my body is going to use that protein to help repair my muscles. Not only will It help my muscles, but also will help promote healthy hair & nails! Also I’ve read a study that having at least 15g of protein per meal as a female keeps your metabolism revving as your body works harder to digest protein!
3.) Stop using shampoos/conditioners that destroy your hair
I wouldn’t recommend using shampoo/conditioner from the drugstore AT ALL, unless the label is free of Sulfates (strips natural moisture & oils from your hair), Parabens (prevents bacteria growth), Sodium Chloride (makes product thicker), DEA & TEA (foam agents), or Synthetic colors & fragrances. I wouldn’t even think to put that on my head. These are ingredients that can cause dry, brittle hair & for those of us with naturally fine hair (me!), it can cause hair to fall out (this was something I didn’t realize until I switched my shampoo/conditioner brand)
Soooo what should you use?
A shampoo/conditioner that is labeled as 100% organic, natural & plant based. My favorite brand has been Malie Organics. They are naturally fragranced, made on the island of Hawaii & have not destroyed my hair. My boyfriend uses Puna Noni & has seen a difference in his hair as well. These are pricey, but last a long time (the 6oz bottles of Malie shampoo/conditioner ran out after 7 months! You don’t need a TON of product to get a good clean)
This goes for ALL hair products guys.. hairsprays, mousses, etc.
QUIT USING CRAP ON YOUR HAIR.
4.) Quit using heat on your hair every single day
I know this one can be hard for some.. simply because we don’t all have naturally straight hair (aka me). But if you can’t stop using heat, opt for the cool setting on your hairdryer. It takes longer to dry your hair that way, but it’s healthier. Throw your hair in a braid over night to give it some style/wave without heat, throw it in a cute bun or just embrace your hair naturally how it is! I’ve used heat on my hair 4 times since Jan 1st & it’s made all the difference!
5) Stop coloring your hair every month
If you must color, get balayage. That only requires you to color a couple times per year, plus, it’s “in” right now anyway. This will save your hair the damage & make your wallet happy! To save money, I used to box color.. which is 10x more damaging. I already knew that, but hey I didn’t want to fork out hundreds of dollars on my hair at the time. I decided to be done with it simply because of the damage it was causing.
I last colored my hair last winter darker than my natural color, which faded to my natural color & since then I’ve just let the sun lighten & brighten my hair!
6.) Don’t wash your hair often
But Molly, that’s gross. Hair that’s brittle, lifeless & falls out is gross. Trust me on this one. When you’re using shampoos that are not 100% natural, they contain chemicals that strip your hair of it’s natural oils that it needs to keep moisturized. When your hair is stripped of it’s natural oils, your hair needs to produce MORE oil to keep up. Hence why your hair may get oily only after 24 hours of washing. And why you’ll need to keep washing every day/every other day. Once I switched my shampoo, my hair doesn’t get as oily anymore & I only need to wash once a week! In order to transition my hair (I used to have to wash every other day, sometimes every day), I would just wash every 2 days & use dry shampoo when needed. I would do this for 1-2 weeks until my hair adjusted. Then I would wash every 3 days for 1-2 weeks, every 4 days for 1-2 weeks & so on. Eventually, it got to the point where I only needed to wash every 7 days. Unless I’m on vacation & in the ocean or up at the lake house, I make a point to wash only once a week. It not only preserves my shampoo/conditioner, but also helps my hair keep moisture & has helped it grow in thicker.
7) Consume vitamins to help growth/strength
The best way to consume vitamins/minerals is through whole foods, but I understand that some are difficult to get enough of. Below I’m listing what I consume a lot of through food or supplements that benefits my hair growth! Before taking any vitamin or supplement, please consult your doctor.
Vitamin A: promotes cell growth & helps glands create oils needed for moisture
Found in sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe (think orange :))
Biotin: Helps thicken & strengthen hair/nails
Found in animal proteins, egg yolks, avocados, bananas, nuts & seeds, I take a biotin supplement!
Omega 3s: Helps keep hair shiny & strong
Found in salmon, chia seeds (my fav chia seed pudding recipe is here), flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts. I take 1st Phorm’s Full-Mega! The highest quality fish oil supplement on the market right now as it has the highest ratio of EPA/DHA. You can purchase it & receive free shipping here. Not only does taking fish oil help your hair, it helps smoothe skin, helps cognitive function, lowers inflammation in the brain & body (will lower cortisol levels & symptoms of depression because of this) & lowers “bad” cholesterol while heightening “good” cholesterol! My bottle will last me 3 months.
That’s all I got for ya! I hope you’ll find my tips for healthier & stronger hair helpful! If there is anything you do to help your hair growth/strength, drop it down below in a comment 🙂